Our wonderful “familiarization” trip to our new home

David and I headed to Tel Aviv, Israel on a very long 2-stop plane ride for a brief 5 day trip to explore our new home land and to get what we can done before we move in June.


We got to meet with Tel Aviv University and meet with the Registrar for David’s program, although its too early to register for class in the Fall, but at least this was a way to explore the campus and to help the administration staff see a face when David goes back to enroll and test. TAU is a beautiful campus and only a short walk from where we will be living. Getting to hear David speak Hebrew (I thought pretty fluently, since it’s the first time I have actually heard him speak it for a length of time) I would say, I am SO proud of him. He is taking this opportunity and running with it with full effort!


After visiting the university we were able to explore Jaffo for a day, the weather was wonderful and the food was even better!! The mix of different fresh salads are delicious, and of course so are the falafels and hummus!! There are also cats everywhere; and they are very cute, but when they stare at you so innocently for food, its kinda heartbreaking, but don’t worry these cats are not starving, there is plenty of food for them, either dumpster food or even the cat food people leave out for them.055

This cat was tired of staring at me and yawning to prove it.

Joycelyn is going to flip out when she sees them all!



Jaffo with Tel Aviv in the background, simply stunning!

We also explored The Shuck Ha’Carmel of Tel Aviv, AKA the market. Just another spot we fell in love with. The spices, the colors, the kind people all around, kids after school sharing their shekels for candy, just won our hearts

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We did a lot of walking, a lot of eating and lots of “just soaking it in.”  The Tel Aviv Promenade (tayelet)” is being transformed into an even more beautiful, family friendly, beach boardwalk. It is nearly completed and we were able to walk along it one evening at sunset. There were so many people just out and about, kids riding bikes, kicking soccer balls against the walls, running, working out, eating at one of the many cute, delicious beach cafes, having a local Goldstar beer, a group of kids getting a lesson of how to sail boat or paddle board or playing Matkot (racquet paddleboard game played at the beach, it is the national beach sport in Israel) which is very popular among locals, we of course, bought some and are hoping to get some good practice in before we move. Devin and David are already pretty good at it!

We got to take a tour of the kids’ school campus and meet with the registrar. Then we drove up to Caesarea. We were so lucky to have one of warmest days since we arrived, it was close to 74 degrees!! We toured the Roman Theater, Hippodrome, Aqueduct, in addition to simply walking throughout the ruins which date back approximately 2000 years when it was the provincial capital of the region.  It was stunning now; so I cannot imagine how beautiful it would have been then in its full glory. To walk on the same grounds as what we have studied and read in the book of Acts was simply incredible and so surreal.

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We ate lunch at a wonderful place on the water and then discovered the old port where we could walk out on. I found some beautiful pieces of sea glass and we took a few fun pictures. Saw some people snorkeling, so next time we will bring our gear!!

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On our last day we traveled to Jerusalem to visit another Olmsted Scholar, Jenn, who has been in Jerusalem for 18 months now, so we not only wanted to meet her and get some good info about moving to Israel, but also to have her take us around her city for a day.  This is where the New Testament came alive before our eyes, its hard to explain unless you have been there, but let me know if you want to talk about his more ;)
We explored the Old City and the “typical” Jerusalem churchs. We are thankful she spent the day with us and we can’t wait to see more of her and her fiancé when we move.

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We literally only spent 4 full days in Israel, and with those 4 days we fell in love with our new “HOME”
Again, can’t believe this is happening and again, we are SO thankful to the foundation for allowing us this opportunity!!!

Pressing onto Israel

I wanted to write and submit this post to help everyone understand that while the Middle East (not just Israel) is in a state of turmoil, we will still be moving to Tel Aviv in the coming year, and truly have little fear in doing so. In all honesty, I/we believe that living in a large city in the United States is just as dangerous as living in Israel right now; despite the constant rocket warnings that they undergo daily. Yes, Israel is living in war right now, but we have done a lot of praying and talking about our own situation and understand that life itself is a blessing and that it can be taken in any moment, whether here or abroad. We do not want to live our life scared or fearful, God has placed this in our hands and we will do our best to live up to what God has called us to do. The situation that is going on in Israel (in addition to those other countries across the world) is one that is heartbreaking. In America, we watch the news and listen to the newscasters tell us what they “think” is going on. Depending on what news station you watch often means what political side is being taken, in addition to a constant blame game. Be aware of what they are saying, then compare and research. If you haven’t read much into the Middle East conflict and what Israel, as a country means, then I strongly encourage you to study up and learn the history…which is simply a miracle in itself.

We are so very grateful that the Olmsted foundation has chosen us (ok, chosen David) to represent the USAF abroad as a student and a scholar of Tel Aviv University. This opportunity is an opportunity of a lifetime and we plan on making the best of it and fully immersing ourselves into their culture in the holiest place in the world.

The one thing that I ask from my family and friends: please don’t hesitate to speak to us about what concerns you, and/or questions or opinions. We (David and I) have our strong opinions on the conflict and this blog is not the place to discuss that. Secondly, please pray for Israel, the Gaza, in addition to all of those being persecuted for their faith throughout the Middle East and around the world. We often take for granted living in the United States, where we have the opportunity to gather and express our faiths and opinions without fear of reprisal, imprisonment or even death.
John 15:19-21
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.”

Pray that eyes will be open all around the world.

My Lighthouse



So, I woke up this morning, after 2 days of over 7 hours a day at the soccer fields, with hope in my heart and one of my favorite songs on my mind. You may think I am crazy, but I wake up every morning with a different Christian song in my mind. It’s been going on for over a year and I absolutely love hearing God talk to me through these songs. Anyway, this song by Rend Collective – My Lighthouse. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPtIv2lnkTY ) It goes like this:

“In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won’t walk out
You’re great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence You won’t let go
In the questions Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
Shining in the darkness I will follow You

My lighthouse
My lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore
Safe to shore

I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea

Fire before us You’re the brightest
You will lead us through the storms”

These lyrics speak right to me, last week I had a realization, that I can’t do everything as I want or plan. “I WON’T FEAR WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS”  I have to trust that God is leading us and I HAVE to put my full trust in him that things WILL work out how they are supposed to, it just may not be as smooth as my Type A personality will like. So, I “gave up” on trying to get things slightly organized and prepared and just went about business and prayed, and prayed and prayed. I even had a good friend take Joycelyn all day for me to get “stuff” done and I still found myself unloading a tote at The Redemption Store (our church’s thrift store) and I stayed to “work” for 3 hours!!! Thankful for good friends’ that have amazing, giving hearts!!!

 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

So, from the beginning of this post, I said I woke up with Hope in my heart. Well, David called this morning saying we have been “approved” to go to D.C. and orders are on their way!!!  Devin’s minor medical conditions were slightly the “problem” So our “plans” can resume. I have found us an excellent apartment in Arlington and started the paperwork today. We can MAYBE slip our trip back home to Iowa/Illinois/Nebraska in the middle of June, because we will more than likely not be able to visit family and friends before we go to Israel.
We spent Mother’s Day weekend in Fairhope, Alabama at the Mobile Bay Spring Classic Soccer Tournament. David’s/Devin’s team (U9 Strikers-PBFC) got First place in the Gold division!! David has been coaching these kids for about a year and to see the end of the season with this kind of a win and getting to watch how much these kids have progressed and played with all heart and soul, has been amazing. We will miss our soccer family!
We also got to write a small section in our Church’s newsletter about our adventure and about how much Perdido Bay United Methodist Church has meant to us in just a short 2 years. I will write more about our Church in a later post, when we say our official “good-byes” because right now, honestly, I am not quite ready to say good-bye to them yet.

We also had our first “I will really miss my friends” cry with Devin. He is 8 and has developed so many special friends within our Church family and soccer. He is afraid they will forget about him. We went to Target after school today and bought a journal for him to ask his friends to write their information down (mom and dad’s email, address, phone number, facetime name..etc..) so he can keep in touch with them.
If you are reading this and have been a BRAT or have a BRAT of your own, or just have a suggestion what else we can do, it would be greatly appreciated. He knows what a blessing this opportunity is for us, but sometimes that just isn’t enough.

MAJORly Proud and humble. Can that happen?



Yesterday David pinned on Major. We are all so proud of him, but also take a step back in humility.

“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

We know we haven’t been able to get this far in his career if it wasn’t for so many that have lead our paths and guided us all.  First and foremost God. David and I, both know, that God’s hand was in our meeting 12 years ago (finding one another in a large crowd, was a very random, possibly divine, happen to “run into” each other, after two years when we first met at Truman State University where he was friends with my sister) We spent the entire summer together and got engaged 8 months later.  All our family and friends thought we were nuts, but we just “knew” and God smiled. Our lives would change when David signed with the Air Force. God again, smiled, because I truly believe He has called David into this life for a reason, David was born a leader and with God in his heart, David will go miles beyond.
Nav/EWO school happened shortly after we got married and our first year brought us our first Air Force family/friends. I am very grateful for these friendships we have met along the way, we are all so supportive of one another, and it’s wonderful crossing paths at different duty stations as we move along! After graduation, we headed to Omaha, NE, Offutt AFB where David would fly on the RC-135. David had the first of MANY amazing bosses, and for me, amazing wives, who also lead by elegant example and showed me the true foundation of what a devoted military wife and mother is. Lt Col Bauer to Lt Compton and his outstanding Wife Kristi, then to Lt Col Humphrey and his fantastic wife Theresa. Then off to the 55th OPS group with Colonel Hansen and his amazing wife Chris. We met some wonderful people and I really do cherish all those fun memories and friendships. Sometimes timing in the AF is what “needs” to happen for careers, but when I look back, I know that all those years (12+ deployments to working 80 hours a week as Exec) were for a certain reason. Our time in Omaha felt like “home.” We met our closest friends and grew in our faith at a wonderful church for 6+ years. We had our two children in Omaha and even though they are “BRATS” they both say they are from Omaha. It didn’t hurt we were only a “short” 5 hour drive to our hometown; close to our family and lifelong friends.  Something that was paramount for our Children as they grew up, at least getting to still see their grandparents despite being military brats.

We moved to Pensacola, Florida in late July 2012, for David to become a CSO/Nav instructor with Lt Col Moser and his outstanding wife, Kristie. And now our current boss, Lt Col Rivera and his fantastic wife, Becca. ALL these Colonel’s and spouses have shown us and proven to us, how graceful, loyal, dedication and “rock solid” these relationships are & can be in the AF.

All of this comes to the door that was opened to Olmsted. With my (Kristy’s need for extreme micromanaging and MUST have all things planned) lists’ keep growing, but my feet feel planted in Perdido, I start to feel a little overwhelmed at what is ahead. I (Kristy) actually get very choked up when I am sitting and praying, knowing that our lives will be forever changed because of this and I am “nervously joyful”. We have created some amazing friendships here in Perdido that I know will continue to grow where ever we go, but I also don’t feel quite “ready” to leave. We feel so honored that God has chosen this for our path and we want to be able to Glorify Him in all this. So, how do we do that? We work at it one day at a time, giving Him the glory and TRUSTING Him with our full obedience.

First post, apologies, the beginning

So, here we go. I want to first and foremost apologize for any rambling (because this is something I even do everyday), for any bad punctuation, spelling errors, for any bad, or is it poor, English grammar (which I am going to start learning another language, so that should make things interesting since I am not the best at even ENGLISH!) or for jumping around.

I am by NO means a writer, so you will be reading our stories, pretty much through my thoughts, I will probably get better with time, but please bare with me. I am really only writing to keep the people that care and the people that I love up to date on our journey.

Now, our journey…

We have been AD Air Force for 10 years, after David received a school select position, we sat and talked and prayed about what we wanted to do next. David had dreamed of trying to get into the Olmsted scholarship program, learn LOTS more at http://www.olmstedfoundation.org. In short, this program would send us overseas to another country to get a Master’s degree and study that culture, for only 2 years. This will replace the School Select year instead. So, he applied at the end of the summer 2013. After a few hundred AF applicants (all branches can apply) the AF board made a selection of about 14 men and women for a phone interview. David was one of them. We were even shocked to get that far. For the next several months David and I did a lot of praying. We feel God is using us here in Pensacola/Perdido Key in a lot of areas and absolutely LOVE our Church family and the mission’s we are doing through them, and our PBFC (Soccer) life has kicked off as well. David started coaching Devin’s Academy team and has fallen in love with the game again and I see such passion in both of them, it’s truly a gift! So, where does God feel we need to be. With Serving the Lord in so many areas here, working the Redemption Store, serving on the Mission board, Working the food bank… I have felt God is calling to stretch me.
I want to serve Him more overseas someday, so is this my opportunity??
With my nursing degree, but being a stay at home mom the past 8 years. I could never “work” in the states and feel competent with all the advances in the medical field, therefore, I would need to go back to school anyway. AND my kids come first, I LOVE being a Stay at Home Mom and wouldn’t change that for the world, but Joycelyn will be starting Kindergarten (I can’t believe it!) so what am I to do during the days they are both in school….MORE SERVING, is where my heart is! So, maybe if we move overseas I would get the chance to use my nursing skills I have by serving in a Free clinic or some missionary type work.
So…GOD, Where do you want the Manrrique’s to go???

So the Date that the Olmsted Board meets was March 18, 2014. They pick from every branch the scholars that were interviewed in November. As the time approached our anxieties became more evident. David didn’t feel he did well in the interview and was saying he didn’t think he got it. I felt like he would get it and our life would forever change, then I started panicking and thinking I wanted to back out before the list was chosen!! UGH….I hate those thoughts of doubt, they do not come from our Father. James 1:6 “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

March 20th comes around. The list is officially out, AFPC writes an article about it. http://www.afpc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123404302

David is selected 1 of 5 in the Air Force!!!
WHOA!!! Here is a verse that I had written on the kids’ bathroom mirror. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

THEN, God says wait….”guess what country I am sending you to”
David will be studying at Tel Aviv University in 2015-2017

Pure excitement and Joy fills our hearts. This is a chance of a lifetime, the kids are thrilled to see the Holy Land, let alone LIVE there!!!
So, it’s off to Language school this June 2014 in Washington DC for Hebrew.
Please keep us all in your prayers as we try to “sort” our lives out over the course of the next few months. I was just telling Devin that God has called us to serve in the Military and travel the world, He will always go before us and guide our paths, as long as we keep our minds, eyes, hearts on Him!!